Mother prided herself on being a lifelong Republican. I’m not sure why exactly but think it may have something to do with the “smoker’s alliance.” It made her feel superior and she always was one for doing her Superior Dance!
However, when she moved to Iowa, she became entranced with Barack Obama. At the time, then-Senator Obama was running for the Democratic nomination for President. The problem was Mother could not hear well enough pronounce his name correctly, so she referred to him as “O’Rock O’Rama.” Abby and I had many a chuckle over that name and always egged her on to repeat it.
It wasn’t the first time she got historical or political details mixed up, but it was a rather humorously historic moment for our family.
She also apparently could not hear or comprehend well enough to accurately understand most of his political positions (or those of Obama’s opponent, John McCain). But that mattered not. When Election Day 2008 was here, Mother cast her ballot for the man who would be elected President, even though she didn’t truly know his name. She knew he was a Democrat and said he was the first Democrat she had ever voted for. She was pleased when he won and believed she had played a large part in his victory.
After Obama was elected President, Mother enjoyed bullying her fellow residents at her senior apartment. She would head down to the Tuesday morning coffee and mention the president’s name. She was not happy until she had heated words with one of more of the coffee group. It usually started with Mary saying something outrageous, and the political debate would ensue. This verbal fighting was a sport that she enjoyed and thrived on.
President Obama’s first inauguration was, of course, an historic event in the United States. Mother took it as an historic opportunity to again goad the other residents in her senior living complex into political debates – arguments in which Mother took the very opposite political positions we ever expected here to take previously.
Most of the residents there, regardless of their political affiliations, gathered to watch the nation’s first African-American President give his inaugural address:
I think that many were touched to have lived to see a day nobody was sure would ever come. Little did they know that Mother would make this a day they would never forget, for altogether different reasons than the inauguration of the new president.
You know how they say that as people age, they often become less liberal and more conservative in their views? Not Mary. For some interesting reason, her politics took a hard, and bizarre, turn into a muddled and somewhat liberal point of view that was largely focused on:
- Barack Obama, or in her words “O’Rock O’Rama”; and
- Her own twisted belief-set, which she projected onto our new President
She even moved at times from liberalism to conservatism and then stunningly over to a libertarian point of view. Her actual belief-set was never clearly enunciated, but to borrow a phrase, Mother summed it up this way:
They can have my cigarettes when they pry them from my cold, dead hands.
They say don’t discuss politics or religion if you wish to remain friends. Mary wasn’t concerned about the friendship part but more about the battle. She was truly the queen of incivility and did not mind the cost of being the last person at the table.
So today, as President Barack Obama is inaugurated to a second term as President, we fondly remember our mother’s infatuation with President “O’Rock O’Rama.”